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Bookstores with Nooks, not Nooks

What’s your favorite place to browse books?

Call me a fuddy duddy, but I miss old fashioned bookstores. Do you know the kind I mean? Slightly disorganized with overstuffed bookshelves, higgly piggly with books, real books, new books, old books, books with hard covers that smell like… well… books.

The Abbey Bookshop - Paris, Francey - old fashioned bookstore with bookshelves overstuffed, higgly piggly with booksI realize I’m probably starting to sound like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. Her character worked in one of those kind of shops. Sure you might not find a huge stock of the latest Grisham thriller, but you might just find a real gem hidden among the shelves.

Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly in the film You've Got MailAm I alone in this? Do you prefer the slick polish of a Barnes & Noble and how you can get a latte made just your way served with a huge scone? At this point they have put most of the independent booksellers out of business… they even did in Borders.

Hugh Grant in his Travel Bookshop from the film Notting HillI’m talking about a bookstore like the one Hugh Grant’s character owns in Notting Hill. Where the owner can tell you the author of the book about Turkey has actually been to Turkey and that it also contains a very amusing incident with a kebab in it.

The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, WA I hear you saying, but Michael I love my tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot (two shots decaf, two shots regular) latte with whip. And besides, Michael, those bookshops are just in movies not real life. Except they’re not. Just a few fav’s:

Who is YOUR favorite bookseller?

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  1. Charisse

    I DO miss Half-Price Books from living in Dallas. I’m up in NY now and have been lucky enough that there are a few great book stores here. And I love them. While I do enjoy a B&N trip, occasionally. I also rather enjoy wandering the aisles and perusing ALL the old books to see what I might find.

    1. Michael Schmid

      You went the opposite direction my wife did, Charisse. She moved from NYC to marry me here in Texas. I’ll never fully understand why, but I’m really glad she did. And yes, Half Price Books is great! They’ve expanded to many locations now, including other states, btw.

  2. Trisha

    I love books. And i love the little hole-in-the-wall bookstores you find! I used to work at Borders, up until 4 months ago when we moved, and I loved it there, too (better than B&N). We recently visited Sun Valley, ID and found a quaint little dive of a bookstore. I loved it! I wanted to spend all day there. but, alas, my husband and kids became restless. We have a used bookshop here in the town I live, but so far as I know, B&N is the only other bookstore in town. I’m not used to living in such a small town (moved from a city of 1 million + to a town of 40,000!) but I thought I’d find a quaint little independent bookstore here. no such luck yet.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Wow… that must be a bit of culture shock. One advantage of larger towns is they can still support independent booksellers. That said a couple I listed (and many more I can think of are located in small towns. It helps if the towns (e.g. Aspen, Mendocino, Sonoma, etc.) have a fair bit of tourist trade.

  3. Mumsy

    My favorite book nook when I lived in big D was 1/2 Priced Books. We don’t have one of them out here and there was just something warm and fuzzy about that place. I love the nostalgic concept. While the bigger, more popular shops may have more in the way of recent items, I totally agree that some great finds can be found in those quaint little shops. Ah, I miss them so…as of yet, I haven’t found one near where we live, so it’s the big shops that get our visits when we go to the bigger towns.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Yeah, living in the Dallas area you had access to a number of Half Price Books locations. They’ve expanded to other states now, but as far as I’ve seen the general feel of that original store is still maintained. I’m certainly not meaning to bad mouth B&N, as I go there pretty often, nor is there anything wrong with eReaders… they are truly super in certain circumstances… but I just miss the nostalgic comfort (even the smell) of those old eclectic local bookshops.

  4. Shelley (@momma_oz)

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Half Price books… not just because of the … well, Half price part… but because I love holding a book… turning ACTUAL pages… and not needing an AC adapter to escape into another world.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hi, Shelley. I know what you mean. I keep mentioning the smell, but there’s something about real books… especially those that have been around a while. Oh, and what about books with leather bindings? My iPad works pretty well as an eReader, but have I read one book on it? Nope.

  5. Danielle

    Ohhhhhh…….We have 2 shops that have books stashed in every corner. It’s like a hunt to find the perfect book! This is my favorite place EVER! I love having to lift through things to see what hidden treasure i may find. Apparently we have another store like this in town, but the store itself is hidden and I really need to seek it out!!! I have shelves of books in my room, many I have read many I haven’t. My husband and I joke about how I collect books and get lost in just the moment of finding the book. I don’t think I can or will ever get an eReader..it takes the experience away…

    1. Michael Schmid

      LOL… I love it, Danielle. Sounds like you could soon open your own used bookshop complete with overstuffed bookshelves, higgly piggly with books! As for Nooks and Kindles, I may succumb should my situation change in such a way that one of those would be the most practical option, but right now I like real books. And I do always resell those I don’t wish to keep and reread (see Half Price Books link above), so they get passed on to new readers.

      1. Danielle

        I can’t let them go, I tell myself “the kids will want to read them come day” I think that’s my way of justifying my book hording…LOL

        1. Michael Schmid

          I totally understand. As long as they aren’t bothering you or anyone else in the house I’m sure that’s fine. I read It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff and it was helpful with my tendancy to hold on to things for sentimental reasons. *hugs*

  6. Sarah Cavenaugh

    Great post! I signed up for your updates via email so I don’t miss any more. Also following you on Facebook now.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Sarah. I don’t have anything against eReaders. I have an iPad 2 and find it works great for so many things, but I do miss the old fashioned independent bookseller. :)

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